H. G. Wells wrote The War of the Worlds in 1898, when there was much speculation about life on the planet Mars. The book is considered to be one of the first science fiction novels. In the story, an English gentleman narrates the events of a violent and fast paced Martian invasion.
The frightening images of people fleeing from gigantic tripod machines and the prospect of life under Martial rule have served as a bottomless well of inspiration for popular culture. The novel has served as a template for many derivative or inspired works, including comics, countless books, a tv series, several films, a bestselling musical, and the famous Orson Wells broadcast. Overall, The War of the Worlds has become an early milestone in and inspiration for the invasion genre.
The novel demonstrates Wells' typical pessimistic outlook on human nature and offers a good deal of critisism on society and people's ignorance and vanity. The War of the Worlds can be read as an indictment of European colonial actions around the globe at that time - with which the injustice of the Martian invasion can be compared. Wells has since been credited with predicting quite a number of technologies, such as laser-like rays, industrial robot-like machines, and chemical-warfare. (Summary by Stephan Möbius and Annie Coleman)